It’s a staggering thought that in a one kilometre radius around Hornsby’s centre there lurk between 500 and 700 supermarket trolleys on any given day.
Just seven years ago an audit revealed that figure to be around just 50 to 60. “I think they’re breeding,” joked Councillor Nathan Tilbury, who’s has made something of a personal crusade to rid the streets of discarded trolleys which have crashed into moving cars, been abandoned in a creek or even hurled up a tree.
Worst-affected streets are College Street, Edgeworth David Avenue and Sherbrook Road. When Hornsby Council tried impounding them with $100 fines for their release, retailers had little incentive to retrieve them, as they only cost $110 to buy new.
After a visit to Westfield in Chatswood where it has allegedly reduced the problem by 98% in the three years since it was introduced, Cllr Tilbury has suggested to Hornsby it asks retailers to adopt the same wheel locking system.
“It’s a series of raised yellow dots on the ground outside the store or mall which render the trolley partially disabled,” he explains. “It effectively feels like riding a bike with the brakes on.
“It costs $70 per trolley so it’s cheaper than replacement costs. Westfield has agreed to fund it in part, in partnership with other retailers in the mall. We’re just waiting on them to work out the logistics.”
The system involves the raised yellow dots on the ground at every Westfield exit, with signs alerting shoppers to their presence.